Saturday, October 16, 2010

Nightly News Protects Boniva

Once again, Nightly News is protecting its sponsors. On Wednesday, the FDA issued a warning about bisphosphonates, a category of drugs (including Boniva) that are used to strengthen bones and treat the symptoms of osteoporosis. These drugs are now believed to cause an increased risk of thigh fractures in many patients who use them. According to an Oct. 13 article at, "The Food and Drug Administration issued a warning on Wednesday linking long-term use of popular osteoporosis drugs to an unusual fracture of the thigh bone."

"The F.D.A. said the labels and medication guides would be changed to show the new warning in oral bisphosphonates including Actonel, Atelvia, Boniva, and Fosamax and injectible drugs including Boniva and Reclast, and their generic equivalents. Genentech is working closely with the F.D.A. to add a statement to Boniva labels warning of the possible increased fracture risk, according to Terry Hurley, spokesman for Genentech, the Roche subsidiary that sells Boniva in the United States."

(The entire article can be read at

This story was not reported on Nightly News. The reason is obvious. At least three of the above-mentioned drugs, Boniva, Fosamax and Reclast, are Nightly News advertisers. Boniva advertises almost every night. By not reporting this story, Brian Williams and his producers are intentionally protecting Boniva and the other Nightly News sponsors from negative publicity.

On May 14 & 17, Nightly News aired a two-part interview (totalling more than five minutes) that Brian Williams conducted with Sally Field. The first part of the interview was exclusively about Field's Boniva ads, including Brian's in-depth questions about the dog that appears with Field in the ads. The interview included fifteen seconds of Boniva ad clips, and constituted a 90 second commercial for Boniva. The second part of the interview also mentioned Boniva. So when Brian feels like helping out his pals at Boniva, he gives them free air time as part of a "news story" on his broadcast. But when the FDA issues a warning about Boniva, Nightly News refuses to report it. Nightly News is little more than a shameless shill for its advertisers. Brian Williams and his producers should be ashamed of themselves. But, of course, they're not.

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